Preparing to Live out of My Car

My fiance and I are preparing to move into our car and out of our apartment in a week from now. It’s been really crazy getting everything ready but we’re super excited for this next big adventure in life! After months of preparing and planning I thought I would make up a list of what we did and wish we would have done in case you’re thinking of doing the same thing.

Set a Budget

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One of the first things we did was come up with a budget. We created a rough budget a few months ago to see what we were currently spending in our lifestyle. Make sure you calculate your insurance, car payments, phone payment, gasoline, food, coffee, and any other recurring expenses. Don’t forget to include how much you spend on self care, clothing, items, and entertainment monthly.

You can set a weekly, bi-weekly, or monthly budget. For our set-up monthly works best. After evaluating what we currently spent, we set a budget and re-evaluated it monthly. We planned how often we would drive each week and how we were going to be eating (buying from a grocery store or eating at restaurants) to estimate what we need on the road. It’s just a rough budget for now and I’m sure it will change once we see what we’ll really do.

It’s especially important because we are traveling off of money saved up and don’t have stable jobs to rely on. You need to go on a tight budget to get the most experience and time out of living on the road.

Downsizing and Storage

We made the decision to sell and give others our furniture and things that we no longer wanted or didn’t have a use for. You don’t need to sell all of your furniture like we did. We didn’t really have any attachment to our items anymore and decided that when we get our next place (whenever that may be) we would get all new furniture and create a style and interior design we actually liked.

After getting rid of our unwanted things (the couch, Xbox, bar stools, etc) we started to pack. We packed up a lot of our clothes and downsized to what we think we’ll need on the road. Anything we thought we could live without we left. It was a really interesting process to go through everything and I ask “Do I really need this?”

Got a PO Box

We were technically becoming homeless. We wouldn’t have a home address or shipping address so we got a PO box. It’s really nice to have a box whether you’re “homeless” or not. It allows us to continue to receive mail while we’re away and we’re having a family member check the box for us when we’re gone and keep our mail. This way we don’t have to worry about our mail being sent to our old address and being thrown out.

Get an Unlimited Data Plan

We had realized that although people claim there isn’t a real difference between data plans I definitely experienced one. I’m sure that if you live in the city and only spend your time in urban areas there isn’t that big of a difference. For me, I like to go camping and spend a lot of time adventuring in areas not-so-service-friendly. My fiance was working a lot out of town and I had no way of talking or texting him while he was gone. Due to this, we decided to change carriers.

We were with T-Mobile and after some time switched over to Verizon. If we were going to be traveling and driving all over the place we would definitely need service. If an emergency were to happen we would have a major problem. Yes, Verizon is a lot more expensive than T-Mobile but it’s absolutely worth it to me.

I recently took a trip with my dad down to New Mexico and was on a dirt road headed to some ancient ruins. I wasn’t going very fast but I hit a rock on the passenger side slashing not one but both of my tires. I somehow had service even though I was in the middle of nowhere and was able to get a tow company to come to my location. If I had been with T-Mobile I have no idea what would have happened but it would have been a hairy situation.

Get a Hum

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If you happen to be with Verizon they have this handy little device called the Hum. It provides you with emergency and roadside assistance, vehicle diagnostics, maintenance reminders, mechanics hotlines, stolen vehicle assistance and a bunch of other stuff. The little device just plugs into your car under your steering wheel on the driver’s side and really comes in handy! You can also get the Hum with wi-fi so you have wi-fi inside of your car.

The Hum really came in handy when I was in my situation in New Mexico. I called Hum and they found me the tow companies near-by, contacted and sent them on their way, and made sure that they arrived. A huge plus is that the first ten miles towed is free. I had to be towed 25 miles so this saved me a ton of money and stress. It’s super great and I know that there are a lot of other companies that do roadside assistance but the Hum is only $5 a month and does a lot more than just emergency assistance.

Cancel Services

This is kind of self-explanatory and is often involved in any moving process but I also think it’s something easy to forget. We were no longer going  to be in the same state or even nearby so I had to remember to cancel all of our recurring expenses and services that we would no longer need. We had a water delivery service, monthly unlimited car wash fee, spray tanning, gym memberships, etc.

Don’t Push Things Until Last Minute!

This is definitely something I wish I would have done. We kept pushing things off such as determining our exact budget, packing, getting a PO box, almost everything I listed above that you definitely should do! We waited and waited because the day we would be leaving never felt like it would come. My biggest words of advise are don’t wait! Start packing a month or two beforehand. Figure out what you think your budget should be months before. Try to just eliminate any and all stress  that you can by avoiding procrastination.

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